In June of 2017, IUPUI announced that they were making the switch from the Summit League to the Horizon League. The switch was an obvious choice, as the Horizon provided closer road games and heightened competition. The women’s and men’s teams had varying results in the new conference.
The Lady Jaguars were projected to finish seventh in the conference. The season prior, they finished one game short of making the NCAA tournament and finished with a 24-9 record. There was no respect for the new girls. Conference powerhouse Green Bay was the overwhelming favorite.
IUPUI lost both bouts with Green Bay this season, but fared well with others. They won their first five games against Horizon opponents. They entered the last stretch of the season with a 12-3 conference record. That is where the dream run ended for the Lady Jaguars. They sputtered when it mattered most, losing two of the last three regular season games.
Despite the unfavorable finish, they entered the Horizon League Tournament as the No. 2 seed. They won their quarterfinal matchup with Oakland 72-59, but lost in the semifinals to Wright State by a score of 60-52. The loss meant the Lady Jags would fall short of the NCAA Tournament again.
The Lady Jags did play well enough to secure an invitation to the WNIT. They hosted Purdue in the first round and fell just short, losing by two points.
Head Coach Austin Parkinson was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year for his team’s impressive first season in a tougher league.
Only seniors Danielle Lawrence and Jenna Gunn graduate from the squad that finished the season with a 22-10 record. Headlining the returning players is freshman Macee Williams. She averaged 13 points and 7.7 rebounds in what was a stellar inaugural season.
Also returning for the Lady Jags are Tamya Sims, who averaged 10.7 points and Sydney Hall, who averaged 8.5 points. Spearheaded by this duo, the returning core can certainly continue the success Parkinson has established at IUPUI.
Conference play was not as favorable for the men’s team. They lost three of their first four conference matchups. A promising 3-game winning streak was decimated by a 5-game losing streak.
They finished the regular season with an 8-10 conference record and a No. 5 seed in the Horizon League Tournament. Postseason play ended as quickly as it started for the Jaguars, they lost their first game to Oakland. On the season, they finished with an 11-19 record.
The Jaguars lose two of their top three scorers to graduation in Aaron Brennon (12.4 ppg) and Ron Patterson (10.3 ppg). However, there is still reason for optimism for next season. Returning starters include T.J. Henderson, who averaged 10.8 points per game, Evan Hall, who averaged 7.7 points and 6 rebounds, and D.J. McCall, who averaged 7.1 points and led the team in steals. The trio are all entering their senior season and have logged plenty of minutes over their 3-year careers.
Three transfers will also be suiting up for the Jaguars next season. Mike Sagay, a 6 foot 7 inch forward from Boston College, Camron Justice, a 6 foot 3 inch guard from Vanderbilt, and Ahmed Ismail, a 7 foot 1 inch center from Manhattan should all prove to be valuable additions to the squad.